Cheerleading Safety

2 Aug

I see the cool cheerleading feats now and instead of being impressed I worry

No spotter. What if she falls (which could easily happen) ???

about safety. Especially for younger girls doing these activities at a school, without an appropriate or knowledgeable supervisor.  Don’t accuse me of being a stick in the mud–of course I am as amazed as anyone when I see a tick-tock lib (look it up on YouTube) or a triple high pyramid with people flipping on and off of it.  And of course the tumbling passes are riveting.  Who doesn’t love to watch the human body doing crazily impossible things?  That stuff is exciting and impressive.  And I wish I could do it.  And I’m certainly not suggesting that stunting and tumbling should be banned from cheerleading all-together.  But it should be done with more care under (better/any) supervision of someone who knows HOW to do it–and what to do if something does go wrong.

I totally wish I could do awesome partner stunts and pyramids.  But, again, in a safe, controlled environment with someone (who knows what they are doing) guiding me.  And an emergency plan.  Injuries abound, and they can be some of the worst.  I think everyone has seen that back spotter’s teeth get knocked out with just one wrong flick of the flyer’s

elbow.  Paralysis.  Neck and head trauma.  And of course the normal knee, ankle, shoulder injuries.  Pretty horrid stuff.

Coaches are hard to find, and educated in stunting technique–nearly impossible.  At the high school level you mostly get teachers and parents in there–and they dunno.  And the lower levels (elementary, middle school, and Pop Warner) are worse off, because they get even less nominal pay.  If any.  Colleges at least adhere to safety standards more since they have to follow strict rules–and are regulated much more in doing so.  Professional cheer is less about stunting and jumping and more about dancing with your parts hanging out while waving tiny poms–so no worries about injury there.  Unless you count sunburns in weird places. . .  The cheer gyms are probably the worst culprit for injury.  They cost a TON of money to join, demand rigorous over-training, and want to win competitions by whatever means necessary.  They just push too hard.  They just want bigger and better stunts, tumbles, and partnering–to the detriment of the participants’ body.

And the major problem is that younger girls are watching them.  And wanting to imitate them.  Even

head too low again–and where are the spotters?

though they do not have the background, coaching, or technical skill to do so.  And they don’t have enough practice time in the world to perfect those high-difficulty level skills.  Nor do those skills follow high school sports safety standards.  So when I see videos and pictures of awesome feats all I do is

midriff-bearing shells, really? Are you kidding me?

wonder who is going to get hurt and how badly as a result.

Oh, and don’t get me started on young babies decked out in sparse cheer gear doing crazy stunts with no spotters.  I think it’s as creepy and inappropriate as it gets.  I’m looking at you, Texas and stage moms.

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